The population of the Central African Republic has almost quadrupled since independence. In 1960, the population was 1,232,000 as of a 2016 UN estimate, it is approximately 4,594,621.

The United Nations estimates that approximately 11% of the population aged between 15 and 49 is HIV positive. Only 3% of the country has antiretroviral therapy available, compared to a 17% coverage in the neighbouring countries of Chad and the Republic of the Congo.

The nation is divided into over 80 ethnic groups, each having its own language. The largest ethnic groups are the Baya, Banda, Mandjia, Sara, Mboum, M’Baka, Yakoma, and Fula or Fulani, with others including Europeans of mostly French descent.